Albany – The New York State Assembly did not include the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC) in its one-house budget on Tuesday, March 10, despite numerous promises to include the legislation. Last year the Assembly and the Governor pledged to pass the bill and include it in this year’s budget. On Tuesday, however, the Assembly broke its promise and deliberately excluded the EITC from its proposed budget.
The EITC is a groundbreaking bill that allocates $150 million for education scholarships, half of which benefits tuition paying parents, while the other half is allocated toward additional resources and programming for public schools. The bill, which passed in the Senate on January 21, 2015, has been shepherded along by Senators Felder and Golden, with the strong support of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. It represents a bipartisan effort to provide critical support in the form of scholarships for children of tuition paying parents, as well as additional resources for public and charter school children. It offers New Yorkers the opportunity to take the amount of tax they owe to New York State, and instead, contribute those dollars to scholarship-granting foundations.
At a community event hosted by Assemblyman Dov Hikind on February 22, 2015, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie voiced support for the bill, promising that the “EITC is on the table.” During an interview with radio station WNBF, on March 6th, however, the Speaker stated that the bill would not be included in the budget proposal. According to the Speaker, “[T]here wasn’t enough support to include it in our one-house resolution or bring the vote to the floor.” By deliberately excluding the bill from the budget, the Assembly has sent a loud and clear message that the legislation is, in fact, not a priority at all.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Assembly has failed once again to give our parents and our schools the help they need,” said Senator Felder. “Members of the Assembly have talked and talked about the importance of including the EITC in the budget, but their actions today show that they are not truly ready to put the needs of tuition paying parents before their own political agenda.”
At a briefing hosted by Senator Felder on February 23rd, school representatives discussed the urgency of including the EITC in this year’s budget, and pleaded that the Assembly and the Governor not wait another year to act.
“I have been working to get a bill like this passed for 30 years,” said James Cultrara, the Co-chair for the New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools. “Please, make sure it doesn’t take 31 years to get this done.”
Senator Felder is organizing a parent petition drive to let the Assembly and the Governor know how important it is that the EITC is included in the budget. “The Assembly and the Governor must pass the Education Investment Incentives Act now. With G-d’s help, together we will succeed,” said Felder.
To join the petition and voice your support for this important Education Tuition Credit, send an email to TuitionCreditNow@gmail.com. For more information please contact Senator Felder’s office at 718-253-2015.